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Community, IT Project in Sri Lanka by Lee Mallon

Working on library system

The first couple of weeks in Sri Lanka were hard as I had never travelled outside Europe before and the cultural change was something I didn't think would have such an effect on me. I was living on my own at the IT centre, but this became the best thing I have ever done. Arriving at my project, I was off away for the weekend with other volunteers an hour later; travelling at the weekends enables you to see all the amazing parts of Sri Lanka and meet up with other volunteers from around the country.

When I arrived at my placement there were just over 100 students a week, now over the summer holidays it's close to 150. The classes consist of around 8 to 10 students with children from the ages of 10 to 19 years old. Other volunteers at the IT Centre are also teaching English before the IT classes and are proving very successful.

Elephant Orpanage

Working in the IT Centre in Mawala I was able to aid the teaching of computer skills by helping students during practical activities, plus throughout the course of my placement I took onboard other projects such as creating learning materials, worksheets and a student database system. I have found my last week here very hard having to say goodbye to all the students as they are all so full of energy and enthusiasm. I am also going to miss when the students bring me roti into the class (love that stuff). Once you settle into the culture and patient way of life it's hard to let go.

21st Birthday morning view - Unawatuna

During my stay here I saw how much the IT Centre is giving to the students and how so many more children in the area could benefit from these skills. Therefore when I return to the UK I plan on holding as many fundraising events to extend the current IT Centre, by adding a new computer room, English teaching room and library area. This is going to be a large project and if anyone is interested in helping or knows of any people or businesses that would be willing to make a donation please email me. If all goes to plan I hope to return in April to see how the new extension is going.

Anyone who has hesitations or worries talk to other volunteers, we are all in the same boat and in this environment people gel together so quickly.

Saturday nights in Unawatuna will never be forgotten!

Lee Mallon

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